I'm also travelling solo on this trip, starting to get close now :D
Have you done a trip like this before?
Nice to hear from a fellow traveller. I was lucky enough to see the mountain gorilla's in Rwanda last year and with Exodus I went to Jordan and Egypt a few years ago. I tend to do a mix of organised tours for this type of trip and organsing my own travel when I can.
How about you?
Wow I bet seeing the Gorillas was brilliant. What were Jordan and Egypt like? Not sure I'm quite brave enough to Organise holidays myself lol.
This is a first for me, orignally i was going to go to Borneo but I didnt go through with it in the end as I wouldnt have got to see Orang Utans which is a big part of going there. So I figured Madagascar was a pretty good substitue, what with Chameleons and Lemurs and all :)
Apologies for the name error - it's been a long week.
I was also originally going to Borneo, to do the trip that included the Komodo dragons, but after I paid my deposit Exodus emailed and said they were cancelling the trip over safety concerns about the local airline used to fly between islands - and a couple of weeks later one of their planes crashed! It's one of the reason's I like companies like Exodus for this kind of trip - they not only take away much of the hassle, they also make sure their customers are looked after.
Jordan and Egypt were great - especially seeing Petra. I would recommend this trip to anyone. I have been to Egypt (nile cruise - also recommended) and other parts of North Africa before, and as a woman, being part of an organised tour is a much easier way to travel.
The Gorillas were amazing - I got so close I was actually touched by them (you are not supposed to get close, but when a Gorilla decides he wants to get past you, you don't argue!). Again, it's a trip I would recommend. I went with Steppes, but there are other companies who do this trip.
I'm really looking forward to seeing the Lemurs - I've wanted to see them since the first nature programme (probably Attenborough) featured them, but the Stephen Fry series just reinforced this. And the way we are demolishing the habitats of creatures like these, it won't be long until the only way to see them is in a zoo, which will be tragic.
If you are anything like most people, after this first trip you will get the bug and be busy planning your next adventure:-)
Hehe no worries, i know the feeling.
That would have been very cool, Komodos are amazing. In a strange kind of way thats quite reassurring, its nice to see a holiday company prioritizing safety over moeny (see Thomas Cook in the news this week). Yeah I agree with you on the hassle part of it, i love the idea of visiting all these places but i wouldnt want to try and organise it all :/
Did you encounter much trouble being a woman travelling in that area of the world or did being on a larger tour help with that? Bit jealous of seeing Petra I must admit lol.
Haha no I dont think arguing with a Gorilla is ever a good idea, incredible to see though I'm sure. Not heard of Steppes, I assume they run similar trips to this?
Yeah absolutely, you cant beat seeing an animal in its natural habitat, dont get me wrong, some Zoos do some amazing work but its just not the same. I just wish people would take better care of these places. I think Attenborough recently went back to Madagascar and did a new series as he hadnt been back there since is first trip, which was quite a while ago.
Hehe, its funny you should say that, I already have a list of places to go as long as my arm :D
Welcome Soo. its a first for me as well so this should be fun :)
If it makes you feel any better I've been booked on this trip for ages and Im not convinced Im totally organised either :/
Nice to hear from you - and I am completely with Adam, as despite having been on several trips I still haven't got everything sorted. But a few tips - bring wet wipes, packets of pocket tissues, antibacterial hand wash and sealable plastic bags to store things that you don't want to get damp. And don't assume you will be able to get even basic toiletries in most places.
Question for you both - have you decided what you are doing about travel money? The guides all say you can take/change Euros, Sterling and Dollar, but the tours are all priced in dollars. And when I have been in other places that say they take other currencies, it's not always been the case when you actually get there.
I don't think it is going to be that easy to change up money once we leave the airport/first stop but want to ensure have enough cash to be able to do everything. Have you read anything on other websites about the best foreign currency/ies to take?
Thanks for the tips Diane. Thats a few more things to pack :/
I've changed my money into Euro's as the trip notes say they are accepted (also if my money is in Euros i cant spend it before we leave lol) and iI'm hoping these will be easy to change over. I might ring Exodus at the weekend and see what they say. If I get any info I'll post it up for you guys.
I think I will probably take a mix of sterling an euros - these will get used anyway and it will stop me getting tempted to spend at the airport. But I think I will ask Exodus the price of the extra trips in Euros and sterling, as their exchange rates might not be great if they convert into dollars.
Typically their Madagascar rep doesn't work at the weekend so I shall havce to pick their brains on Monday.
Would either of you have any idea on how easy it will be to get clothes cleaned and therefore how many changes of clothes to bring?
Soo: Good luck with the work deadline, sounds like you will definitely need a holiday soon :)
Hello. I'm also travelling solo on this trip - only found this thread yesterday.
I've emailed Exodus to ask them about money and whether I should take GBP or Euros. They said that the only minor advantage of Euros over GBP was that in some places you can either pay in local currency or Euros, but not GBP. However, most places will only accept local currency (I've only been to Africa once before, to Tanzania, and there I paid for absolutely everything in US$ and I wondered if Madagascar was the same, but it isn't). Therefore, as it is just as easy to exchange both GBP and Euros into local currency at each bureau de change, they advised me to take my currency in GBP so you don't lose out twice on the exchange rates.
However, I did notice that in the additional information from the local representatives in the Final Joining Instructions, it said that "it is always wise to keep some Emergency cash in Euro on you". So I'm going to take the money I think I'll need to spend in GBP and then take some Euros in case of emergencies.
Will see you all next weekend. Rachel
Thanks for the money info and I think I will follow your suggestion. But will also let everypne know when I get a response from Exodus re paying for their additional tours.
Adam - getting clothes cleaned is probably going to be an issue simply because we don't seem to be spending more than 1 night in any one place until the end of the holiday. So if you can I'd try to pack a change of tops and 'smalls' for everyday. It might be possible to buy tshirts etc en route (and it's a small way of supporting the local communities) but again it depends on stops en route. To avoid carrying lots of dirty clothes around, if they are in good condition I often leave used tops etc at the hotels or if not, just bin them. It also then frees up space for souveniers.
If you have things that are quick drying you might get a chance to rinse them out - and the plastic bags i mentioned earlier can be used if they are still a bit damp when you repack.
Looking forwards to meeting you all next Saturday.
Di - Yes thats pretty much what I thought regarding cleaning, and most of my clothes will essentially be disposable so I think i will ditch things as we go, especialy as you say it means more souvenir space :)
Rachel - Hi, nice to hear from another traveller. I spoke to Exodus today and they said much the same thing to me
See u all soon
Exodus have not been especially helpful re paying for extra trips when you are there - their response was to check with the guide when you arrive and they will tell you prices and exchange rates - oh well, mix of sterling and euros seems the best option
Good to start meeting people before we even get there! I think I'm starting to get excited now.
I'm going to go with the Sterling and Euros mix, that should cover all options.
As for clothes, I'm not big on dumping stuff as I go so I'm taking some soap flakes and will see how things go. It does sound like it might be too cold for things to dry overnight but there's usually a way around things. Like you say, coming back with some local t-shirts might be fun. Apologies in advance if I just end up being smelly!!
I'm flying from Manchester so I think I should meet the rest of you in Nairobi for the last flight. It's always fun playing a guessing game on whether someone is part of your trip or not. :-)
Any last minute panics/ advice?
Anyone else leaving for Madagascar on 27th September 2013 to go walking/trekking? Would be nice to hear from you.
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